By Victor V. Saulon, October 2 2019; Business World

Image Credit to Business World

THE Department of Energy (DoE) hopes to release within 30 days its final decision on the seven groups that bid for areas it offered for petroleum exploration, Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido J. Pulido said.

“Hopefully within the next 30 days,” Mr. Pulido said at an economic briefing in Malacañang, referring to the final decision on the seven groups that bid in a contracting round that seeks to revive efforts to find another major energy source like Malampaya.

Four entities bid for four out of the 14 pre-determined areas offered by the department, while three entities “nominated” or proposed to explore areas outside the department’s list.

Asked about the criteria for the decision, he said: “We put more emphasis on a company’s technical capability. (We used to focus more on) a company’s financial capability.”

He added: “The Secretary of Energy feels now, it’s time to prioritize, sino po iyong mga kompanya na talagang seryoso at may kakayahan na ituloy po iyong exploration para umabot po tayo sa production (which companies are serious and capable of bringing exploration to the production stage)… If you compare us to our neighbors, Malaysia, Indonesia, medyo mabagal po iyong offshore energy exploration natin (our process for offshore exploration is slow), so we want companies who have the technical know-how and capability to really explore.”

The DoE on Aug. 19 opened the bids for the 14 pre-determined areas — mostly offshore — under its Philippine Conventional Energy Contracting Program (PCECP), which represents the department’s bid to spur exploration of areas in the country with potential oil and gas reserves.

Up for grabs were: a site in Cagayan, three in east Palawan, three in the Sulu Sea, two in Agusan-Davao, one in Cotabato, and four in west Luzon. The application period was 180 days. None of the areas lies in waters contested by China and the Philippines.

The four companies that submitted bids were Israel’s Ratio Petroleum Ltd. (Area 3-East Palawan Basin); Sulu Sea Energy Resources Development Corp. (Area 6-Sulu Sea Basin); the partnership of The Philodrill Corp. and PXP Energy Corp. (Area 7-Sulu Sea Basin); and Esmaulana Global Ventures Company, Inc. (Area 6-Sulu Sea Basin).

Under PCECP, companies may also nominate other areas of interest at any time of the year. Their proposals will be subjected to challenge within a 60-day period.

The three companies that proposed to explore other areas are Sulu Sea Energy (Sulu Sea Basin); Troika Giant Power Corp. (Northwest Palawan Basin); and Superior (SG) Shipyards, Inc. (Southeast Luzon Basin).